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date: 19 August 2019

Barge, ceremoniallocked

  • Alan McGowan


Ceremonial boat, usually decorated with elaborate carving (see Ship-decoration), used by royalty, civic dignitaries and wealthy citizens to travel in considerable state. While state barges most commonly appeared on the waterways of Europe, there are examples of state caiques in Istanbul (Maritime Museum), and they continue to be used in Thailand.

The first appearance in Europe of the oared barge as a vehicle and symbol of state was in Venice in the Middle Ages. In a ceremony held annually on Ascension Day, the Doge of Venice dropped a gold ring into the sea to symbolize the espousal of Venice to the Adriatic. This ceremony originated under Doge Pietro Orseolo III (reg 991–1008), although it achieved real importance only after the attendance of Pope Alexander III (reg 1159–81) in 1177. It was last celebrated in 1796. At first the Doge’s golden barge, Buzeus Aureus, was towed by a suitably decorated smaller boat, but by ...

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